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Top 5 New Year's Resolutions for Seniors

by Lauren Neale | Published December 21, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

The new year signals fresh starts and new beginnings!  One of the ways people ring in the new year is by creating New Year’s resolutions where they set goals to achieve in the upcoming year.  Oftentimes, these goals can be broad like eating healthy or spending more time with family. The vagueness of the goal and how to track it can lead many to abandoning their efforts relatively early on.  According to Forbes, research shows that 80% of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions give up on them by February.1

Yet goal-setting can have positive impacts on your brain and overall mood, making it an important thing to prioritize in the new year.  For seniors, these positive brain and mood benefits make goal-setting even more impactful as we grow older.  A sense of pride can flood through you when you achieve a goal.  But it is so much more than that.  Goal-setting gives your brain a dopamine boost making you feel happier and lighter.2  This dopamine hit will encourage your brain to repeat that same behavior which starts a positive cycle, making it easier to achieve the next goal.2  

So how do you set New Year’s resolutions that you can maintain throughout the year and ultimately check off your list.  First, think of goals that you would like to achieve, even by perusing the top resolutions for seniors in this article and then, make them SMART goals.

How to Create a SMART Goal

Maintaining motivation for your goals can be difficult, even if they come with positive brain benefits.  To help maintain motivation for your goals and make them easier to achieve, consider making them SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.3  Each of these aspects help set parameters around a goal that makes it easier to take actionable steps to accomplish  it.  

Let’s look at each one of these aspects individually.

1. Specific

Make your goal specific, don’t leave it in vague terms.  By narrowing the focus, you will know exactly what you need to do in order to achieve your goal.

2. Measurable

Make your goal measurable by supplying an amount to reach.  A number will help you see the finish line you need to reach to check off your goal.

3. Achievable

Make your goal achievable by not biting off more than you can chew.  Set attainable goals for yourself that are within reach and add intensity to them little by little.

4. Relevant

Make your goal relevant by picking something that aligns with your dreams and values.  Goals are personal and should impact the things that matter most to you, so pick the most relevant things to pursue in the new year.

5. Time-Bound

Make your goal time-bound by having an end date in mind.  New Year’s resolutions already have a built in deadline of the end of the year, but you can also set deadlines to help keep your goal on track.3

Using the SMART goal acronym can help you create achievable New Year’s resolutions and help sustain your motivation until the end of the year.

Five New Year's Resolutions for Seniors

SMART goals can help you write your goals for the new year, but if you are having trouble getting started on writing your own, here are five popular New Year’s resolutions for seniors.

1. Add in Healthy Doses of Exercise

Most people want to start the new year off right by adding in exercise.  The ultimate goal is establishing healthy exercise habits that can be maintained throughout the year. This goal can take on many different forms, some may want to count their daily steps while others want to take a regular fitness class or work on certain muscle groups.  Whatever path you take, adding in weekly, even daily exercise can do wonders for your health and mood.   

Make it SMART: I will walk 15,000 steps every week in the new year.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Another goal that ties into being healthy is drinking plenty of water.  The Mayo Clinic recommends women drink 2.7 liters of water a day and men to drink 3.7 liters a day!4  Staying hydrated will lead to every cell in your body firing on all cylinders. It can regulate your body temperature and cushion your joints.4  Setting a goal to drink more water is a healthy benchmark for the new year.

Make it SMART: I will drink 8 glasses of water every day in the new year.

3. Prioritize Regular Medical Exams

Scheduling and attending your annual physical and other regular medical exams is an important thing to prioritize every year.  Your doctor may be able to catch the onset of health issues or concerns, mitigate health risks, and monitor things like your hearing, vision, and prescriptions.  This is a great goal for seniors to monitor their health from year to year.

Make it SMART: I will schedule and attend my yearly medical physical this new year.

4. Stay Social

Staying socially active is especially important for seniors.  Social engagement increases brain activity and gives you a sense of value and belonging.5  There are many ways to be socially active.  Find time to spend with family and friends, start volunteering or join a community group.  All of these could be great goals for the new year!  

Make it SMART: I will schedule one social outing every month in the new year.

5. Check Your Annual Medicare Supplement Coverage Options

Another great goal for seniors is taking the time to research new Medicare plans.  Medicare plans can change from year to year, so it is important to research your current plan and new coverage options every year.  Make it a goal to spend time researching before locking in your plan!  

Make it SMART: I will visit or call a licensed insurance agent to research plan options.

Start Setting Your Goals

Now it’s your turn!  Armed with the knowledge of how to write SMART goals and what popular goals are out there for seniors, it’s time for you to write your own goals for the upcoming year.  Setting attainable goals can provide you a sense of purpose, give your brain a dopamine boost, and help you check off more things you have always wanted to accomplish.


1 Ashley Stahl. “This New Year's Set Goals, Not Resolutions.” December 9, 2021. Forbes.

2 “How Setting Goals Can Help and Hurt Your Mental Health.” February 25, 2018. The Best Brain Possible.

3 Jennifer Herrity. “Guide on How To Write SMART Goals (With Examples).” July 1, 2022. Indeed.

4 “Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?” October 12, 2022. Mayo Clinic.,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women.

5 “10 New Year’s Resolutions for Senior Adults.” January 5, 2022. Summit Vista.

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